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Gordon, R. (1983). Cahen, R. (Paris). Preface to the ‘nth’ edition of L'Homme à la Decouverte de son Ame (Modern Man in Search of a Soul) (1982).. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(3):271-272.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(3):271-272

Cahen, R. (Paris). Preface to the ‘nth’ edition of L'Homme à la Decouverte de son Ame (Modern Man in Search of a Soul) (1982).

Review by:
Rosemary Gordon

Edited by:
Andrew Samuels

Dr Roland Cahen, who in 1943 was the first to edit and to translate into French Jung's Modern Man in Search of a Soul, has been provoked in the Preface of the ‘nth’ edition of this book, almost forty years later, to reflect about the value, meaning and impact of the book on individuals and on whole cultures.

Although the vast number of editions of the book marks it out as being quite particularly appealing to people in the second half of the twentieth century, Cahen, in this short article, discusses it in terms of the effects produced, he believes, by the discoveries of the depth psychologies in general.

In doing this, he does not shirk the experience of disquiet and disillusion, even of a sense of tragedy, as he contemplates the faith which Jung expressed in man's capacity to develop himself and reach out to greater goodness, tolerance, understanding and control of his violence. This may be compared with the explosion of shadow qualities which we witness in our own days—commercialisation, the triumph of mediocrity, banalisation of language and thought, dogmatism and facile generalisations, the claim to professionalism of untrained or semi-trained people, the proliferation of phony new psychotherapeutic methods (there are supposed to be 400 of them presently in the U.S.A.), and the in-fighting between the two or three original schools of depth psychology which continues unabated to the delight of the cynics.

In fact, Cahen wonders whether depth psychology has not itself contributed to the instability in the world of today, a suspicion that has been expressed once or twice already by, for example, Bettelheim.

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